Tourist Boards don’t need massive resources to plan and implement innovative blog/press trips. In fact it’s possible to host regular blog trips that won’t be a drain on either financial or staff resources.
We recently were involved with a blog trip to Lanzarote that illustrated perfectly why good blog trips don’t necessarily require endless organisation and a treasure chest of funds. However, what they do need is a willingness to succeed and a collaboration between tourist boards, private businesses and pro-active travel bloggers.
Planning a Budget Friendly Blog Trip: Keep it Simple and Work in Partnership
A desire to try something different led to a partnership between Turismo Teguise in Lanzarote and Juan Carlos Albuixech and John Beckley of Sands Beach Resort, Costa Teguise organising a blog trip model whose agenda included a mix of organised activities and time for travel bloggers to explore on their own.
A flexible blog trip agenda was arranged that included restaurant visits, car hire, scooter hire, passes to Lanzarote’s attractions, and various other activities. Sands Beach Resort provided accommodation that included free wi-fi access (obviously an essential aspect of a good blog trip).
Importantly, the partnership between Turismo de Teguise, Sands Beach Resort and other private local businesses meant that the cost and organisation required to arrange and implement this trip for two travel bloggers over four days was minimal. As a result it’s a model that can be repeated with other travel bloggers on a semi-regular basis. It can also be organised extremely quickly; there were probably two weeks from inception to implementation.
Implementing a Budget Friendly Blog Trip: Work in Partnership with Bloggers
One of the first things that happened after our arrival in Lanzarote was a meeting with Inma Armas of Turismo Teguise and John Beckley from Sands Beach Resort to discuss objectives, what promotional aspects of Lanzarote were important to Turismo de Teguise, what we wanted to get out of the trip and also to discuss the pros and cons of working with travel bloggers. The idea was to create a blog trip which satisfied the requirements of all parties involved.
By the end of the meeting everybody involved was clear about what each wanted to achieve over the course of the blog trip and beyond. Although much of what was discussed had been provisionally agreed in advance, it’s good practice and more sociable to meet face to face to confirm expectations and to build lasting relationships.
Apart from another meeting towards the end of the trip with the mayor of Teguise, Oswaldo Betancort and Councillor for Tourism, Antonio Callero who had both given the project their full backing, we were left to explore Teguise and Lanzarote under our own steam with a programme we could mostly customise to suit.
Why This Model Should Appeal to Travel Bloggers
The flexibility of the model meant that whilst we visited attractions that Turismo Teguise were keen we experienced and undertook activities with Sands Beach Resort’s partners, we were able to explore the island for ourselves. Armed with invitations for restaurant visits, passes to museums, agreed times for car and scooter hire we were able to create our own agenda within the broader framework of the overall objectives. Ostensibly, this meant that although we were on an organised blog trip, we had the freedom to do what we wanted, when we wanted, for most of the trip.
For travellers this is a dream. Blog trips can be fantastic, but often they involve a strict and quite inflexible timetable. It’s one of the factors that makes this model of blog trip appealing.
The Benefits of Budget Friendly Blog Trips
For Tourist Boards and Local Businesses
- They’re inexpensive and require minimal organisation and therefore aren’t a drain on staff resources.
- They can be organised very quickly.
- Working with one or two bloggers on a trip is far easier than dealing with 16 at the same time.
- It’s a tool for promoting aspects of a destination to fit local tourism strategies as they develop throughout the year.
- The model promotes a culture of local authorities and private businesses working together.
- It ensures promotion of a destination is spread over a period rather than during one big hit.
- Success and positive publicity encourages other businesses to participate resulting in a wider choice of blog trip options available to both tourist boards and bloggers.
- The Social Media promotion of small personalised blog trips can feel less manipulated than blog trips involving multiple bloggers.
- Pro-active businesses are rewarded with the sort of personalised publicity less innovative businesses won’t enjoy.
Benefits for Travel Bloggers
- Freedom – the mix of partly arranged agenda and tools for self exploration mean that trips feel customised and travel bloggers get to do what they enjoy; explore new destinations.
- Each Trip is different. There won’t be 10 other bloggers writing about the same thing at the same time. Each trip gives bloggers the tools to create their own unique material.
- It’s end-user friendly – some trips involve ‘wow’ experiences but not ones that the average visitor may always be able to enjoy. There will be wow experiences on these blog trips but they will generally be ones that are accessible to everyone; once the blogger spreads the word of course.
The Lanzarote blog trip isn’t a complicated model but it does tick all the right boxes.